The oldest finds of human settlements in the
Philippines come from the island of Palawan where over
30,000 years of stone tools have been found. At the
beginning of the 11th century, Malay people from the
Malacca peninsula and Indonesia came to the islands.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Philippines, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
Islam was brought to the Philippines via the
Indonesian Islands, but the new religion barely gained
hold until the Spaniards arrived and began to preach
Catholicism. The first Spanish fleet in these waters was
led by Fernando Magellan, who arrived in Cebu in Visayas
in 1521 during history's first world tour. Spain sent a
fleet to conquer the islands and in the early 1570s the
area became Spanish. It was named after King Philip II
Catholic doctrine was forced upon the people,
sometimes by force, and after a hundred years, virtually
all inhabitants were Christians, with the exception of a
group of Muslims on the islands of Mindanao and Sulu in
the south who never fully subordinated themselves to the
The Philippines was ruled from Mexico, which was then
a Spanish colony. Oriental silk, porcelain and spices
were shipped from Manila to Acapulco in Mexico and from
there to Spain. Most Spaniards lived in the capital
Manila, where they were mainly engaged in trade. Only
the priests, who served as tax collectors, lived in the
Prior to the arrival of the Spaniards, the land was
jointly owned, but under the Spanish rule the uneven
ownership conditions of the day were founded. A new
local upper class of plantation owners, who got their
land from the Catholic Church or the Spanish throne,
emerged during the 19th century. On large plantations
sugar, coconuts, hemp and tobacco were grown. In the
second half of the 19th century, thousands of Chinese
came to the Philippines, where many gained an important
role in trade. People of Sino-Filipino or
Spanish-Filipino origin came to own large land areas.
The upper class sent their children to universities
in Manila and Spain and when they returned home they
brought with them Spanish culture and liberal political
ideas. Resistance to colonialism emerged from this
At the end of the 19th century, the United States
claimed Cuba, which belonged to Spain. The Philippines
was drawn into the power struggle between the United
States and Spain as a Spanish colony. The United States
helped equip an armed movement in the Philippines that
fought for independence from Spain. Initially, the
rebels had success in the fighting but eventually the
Spanish army took over. At the same time, the US Navy
fought in the Gulf of Manila, primarily to prevent the
Spaniards from directing their forces to Cuba.
In 1898, a war broke out between the United States
and Spain and in June of that year the leader of the
rebels, Emilio Aguinaldo, proclaimed the Republic of the
Philippines. At the post-war peace talks, the
Declaration of Independence was ignored and Spain handed
the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico to the United
States for a sum of $ 20 million. After an intense
debate in the United States between colonialists and
anti-colonialists, President William McKinley, who felt
that the Philippines was not ripe for self-government,
was the duty of the United States to take over the
colony. Americans used brutal methods to suppress the
Philippine independence movement.
The Americans introduced free education and health
care. The Philippines developed into a large US market.
Goods from the United States were allowed to be imported
duty-free in the country, while the import of Philippine
goods into the US market was restricted. No domestic
industry of importance developed during this time and
the country became even more dependent on agriculture.
The landowners' oppression in the 1920s and 1930s
created concern in the countryside. Peasant movements
were formed to demand better conditions and a more even
distribution of the soil.
In 1934, an agreement was signed with the United
States that gave the Philippines internal autonomy as
well as a promise of independence after ten years. But
in 1941, the country was occupied by Japan. The
Philippines was one of the few countries in Asia that
offered Japanese resistance. Leading the opposition was
the communist-dominated nationalist guerrilla,
Hukbalahap, who also advanced hard against the domestic
During the guerrilla war, which lasted throughout the
occupation, over one million people lost their lives. In
addition, large parts of Manila and other cities and
villages were destroyed. In 1944, an army stepped up
from the Allies' side that the following year, together
with the squat guerrillas, could liberate the country
from the Japanese.
New peace deal with Muslim rebels
On December 8, the government signs the peace agreement with Milf. However,
President Aquino points out that all important issues have not yet been
resolved, including the issue of disarmament. There are also several smaller
groups that are not covered by the settlement.
Several million homeless people after typhoons
Six larger and several smaller islands in central Philippines are paralyzed
when typhoon Haiyan (in the Philippines called Yolanda) sweeps across the
country with winds of up to 80 meters per second in the villages. The damage
after the typhoon is long overlooked and the Philippine and international relief
efforts are difficult to reach because roads and other infrastructure are in
ruins. Millions of people have been affected by the disaster in various ways.
Worst, the damage appears to be at Leyte with the provincial capital Tocloban.
The island of Samar is also one of the hardest hit provinces. Several millions
of people are reported to have lost their homes and the material damage to
buildings and fields is enormous. President Aquino announces disaster states
throughout the country. In retrospect, reports of how food and water shortages
will lead to looting and unrest, among other things, firearms erupt between
looters and police. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agency,
about one-third of the country's rice crops have been destroyed. Financial
figures, which reflect the first three quarters of the year, show continued high
growth of over 7 percent. Economists believe that growth is likely to remain at
a high level. The government is planning major
reconstruction programs and building homes and other buildings that have been
destroyed, as well as roads and other infrastructure. In addition, Filipinos
abroad send home more money than otherwise after natural disasters.
Over 100 dead after earthquake
An earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale hits the island of Bohol and
the Cebu Province in the middle part of the country. At least about 100 people
Storms require about 10 deaths
The typhoon Usagi causes major damage in the northern part of the country.
About 30 people are killed and at least 100,000 are forced to leave their homes.
New battles on Mindanao
Struggles break out between the government army and a faction of the MNLF
near Zamboanga on Mindanao. At least 50 people are killed and in several
villages civilian Filipinos are taken hostage by the rebels. President Aquino
and several of the military's top tier travel to Zamboanga. At the end of the
month, the military says the hostage disaster in Zamboanga is over and that most
of the MNLF rebels who have survived the fighting have given up or been
Senior politicians in corruption scandal
A corruption scandal is brewing. Among those appointed are Senate President
Juan Ponce Enrile of the Opposition United National Alliance (UNA). He and
several other leading politicians are accused of using a development fund, PDAF,
which had been set up by President Arroyo, to incur large sums.
Agreement with Saudi Arabia to strengthen guest workers' rights
The Philippines and Saudi Arabia conclude an agreement aimed at protecting
Filipino certain rights (they should be entitled to at least one day off per
week and a minimum wage of $ 400 a month). About 60,000 Filipino women work as
maids in Saudi Arabia.
Dispute with Taiwan
Tensions arise in contact with Taiwan after the Philippine Coast Guard shot
to death a Taiwanese fisherman who they claim had entered Philippine waters.
Aquino's success in the parliamentary elections
Mid-term elections are held in which new members of both provincial and
municipal assemblies and both chambers of Congress are appointed. Violence in
connection with the election campaign requires at least 50 lives. The elections
are widely regarded as a kind of referendum on President Aquino's reform
program, which seeks to curb widespread corruption, put an end to armed
conflicts and strengthen the country's economy. Aquinos partiallians
Team PNoygains a majority in both chambers of Parliament. Former
President Joseph Estrada becomes new mayor of Manila. Imelda Marcos, widow of
dictator Ferdinand Marcos, is allowed to retain her seat in the House of
Representatives and her daughter Imee to retain her post as governor of the
province of Ilocos Norte. Gloria Arroyo also wins a new term in the House of
Representatives. At the local level, the Ampatuan clan (see November 2009) has
success, including wives elected to three murder-accused clan leaders as mayor.
At the same time, Ismael Mangudadatu, whose wife was murdered at the massacre in
2009, is re-elected as governor of Maguindanao province.
The Preventive Drugs Act is delayed
The law on allowing contraception is appealed to the Supreme Court. This
means that it cannot take effect as planned.
Philippine clan attacks city on Borneo
A Filipino clan attacks a village in Sabah, but it is quickly defeated by the
Malaysian military. At least 70 people are killed. The Government of the
Philippines indicates that it has nothing to do with the attack. The attackers
belong to a Muslim clan who claim Sabah on the northeastern part of the island
of Borneo and call themselves the Sultanate of the royal army of the Sultanate.
In Manila, a demonstration will be held in early March, where participants
express their hope for a peaceful solution and express concern about the
approximately 800,000 Filipinos who live and work in Sabah.